MOOC: A Personal Thank You

On the left me in the Spring of 2012, on the right, me today at the end of chemo.

On the left me in the Spring of 2012, on the right, me today at the end of chemo.

As we enter the official last week of the New Librarianship Master Class/MOOC I wanted to extend a personal thank you to the library community. Some may know this has been a very difficult year for me in terms of my health. A set of unexplained seizures in the Fall of 2012, followed by a lymphoma diagnosis in February of this year have been major challenges. Travel has become nearly non-existent, and my speaking engagements have been limited to Skype.

While my wife and family have been the force that have kept me going you, librarians, have been the force that have kept my mind engaged, and a part of the dialog on the future of our profession. The discourse in the MOOC, email, Twitter, and the blogosphere have been invaluable during my treatments.

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed the MOOC conversations and how much I have learned. I have a lot to think about including: the political dimensions of new librarianship, the importance of multiple narratives, and the role of fiction. Like you, I too was overwhelmed with the sheer volume of comments in the first week, but digging through it I have been heartened by the healthy and deep conversation about libraries and librarians.

I have been thrilled to see the course has inspired blog posts, Twitter debates, and Facebook groups. I know a lot of you weren’t prepared for the theoretical and philosophical dimensions of the discussion, but I admire that we all dove in with respect and civility, if not agreement. We are indeed a noble profession, and one well equipped to forge a bright future.

I would also like to extend my thanks to my fellow instructors Jian Qin, Megan Oakleaf and Jill Hurst-Wahl. I would also like to thank Dean Liz Liddy and Associate Dean Jeff Stanton whose support made this course possible. Peggy Brown and Sarah Helson are the amazing instructional design team that not only provided tech support to the course, but were instrumental in bringing some pedagogical coherence to the MOOC.

The course would also not be possible without the administrative support of Blythe Bennett and Sarah Hagelin of the iSchool and Karen De Jarnette of University College’s TED Center. Thanks to MIT Press for supporting the course with the Atlas discount.

Lastly, a special thanks to IMLS and ILEAD USA. Both supported the development of the Atlas and New Librarianship in general. The ILEAD USA librarians not only provided exemplars for the course, but inspiration for me in their passion and dedication to service.

I don’t know yet the end of my personal health journey, but no matter the outcome, I do know you have made the journey not only more bearable, but inspirational.

Thank you.

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